Much better than a nervewracking loss, however… Combining a rainy day, Carson Wentz’ somewhat shaky comeback start, an offensive line performance that deteriorated as the game wore on, shoddy special teams play and a defensive pass rush that was MIA for a lot of the game, you pretty much knew the game was going to come down to the final minutes for the Birds. It did, and fortunately the Colts came up short.
Late in the 4th quarter, the Colts had a chance to convert on a red zone opportunity and leave the city of Philadelphia with a win. Facing a first-and-10 at the Eagles’ 11-yard line, the Colts failed to find a way into the end zone, as the Eagles buckled down and shut the door. As Alex Smith of PE.com said, “It was a microcosm of the entire game, as the Colts converted just one out of five red zone chances into touchdowns.”
At that point, I thought we had run of Luck (pun intended), but once again the Eagles defense dodged a bullet.
DE Derek Barnett accounted for the biggest play of the day, as he got just enough of Andrew Luck to bring him down for a sack on a fourth-down play from the Eagles’ 4-yard line with 1:19 remaining in the game. With two cracks from the 4, Luck’s pass to T.Y. Hilton sailed over his shoulder in the left corner of the end zone on third down and Barnett sacked Luck on fourth down. The Colts eventually had one more chance at a Hail Mary heave toward the end zone, but Barnett’s big play shut down the Colts’ best chance at a win.
Wentz threw a touchdown pass on his first drive in nine months, Wendell Smallwood ran in from the 4 for the go-ahead score and the Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) held on for a 20-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Adam Vinatieri tied Morten Andersen’s career record of 565 field goals by connecting on all three tries, but the Colts (1-2) couldn’t take advantage of two turnovers by Wentz inside the 20 in the second half.
The Colts got the ball again one last time at their own 11 with 39 seconds remaining but couldn’t reach midfield. Jacoby Brissett filled in for Luck and threw a desperation pass on the final play that fell incomplete.
“We knew we fell short in the red zone,” Luck said. “Our guys gave us a chance at the end. What else can you ask on the road against the defending Super Bowl champs.”
Wentz engineered what turned out to be the winning drive with precise passes and unique “extending-the-play” moves which seem to indicate his lower body is truly healed. Wentz eluded a sack and threw a 10-yard pass to Nelson Agholor, who hurdled for a first down on third-and-9 to extend the drive at the Colts 26. Four plays later, Smallwood scored to make it 20-16.
At the beginning of the game, Wentz misfired on his first pass, then connected over the middle to Zach Ertz and kept going. Running a no-huddle offense, Wentz drove the Eagles 79 yards in 12 plays and capped it with a 13-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert for a 7-0 lead.
But over the course of the rest of the game, Wentz was sacked five times, scrambled three times and had to dive for a first down on one of his runs.
His offense couldn’t get much going again until the fourth quarter. Earlier he short-armed an open pass that caused the Eagles to settle for a FG. Wentz nearly gave the Colts the game in the 4th quarter when he stared down Ertz and floated a pass that was picked by Anthony Walker and returned to the Eagles 16. But the Colts only managed a 31-yarder by Vinatieri that gave them a 13-10 lead.
After Jake Elliott answered with a 24-yarder on the following drive, Margus Hunt knocked the ball out of Wentz’s hands and recovered the fumble at the Eagles 13. Philadelphia’s defense again held and Vinatieri made a 28-yard field goal to give Indianapolis a 16-13 lead.
“Those are things that can’t happen,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said of the turnovers. “But overall, for his first time back, not so bad.”
Earlier, Luck threw a 5-yard TD pass to Ryan Grant to tie it 7-7 after Elliott missed a 55-yard field goal wide left.
Luck finished 25 of 40 for 164 passing yards, one TD. Wentz finished 25 of 37 for 255 yards, one TD and one pick.
Undrafted rookie Josh Adams, the fifth-leading rusher in Notre Dame history, had 30 yards rushing on six carries for the Eagles. He was promoted from the practice squad earlier in the week.
Eagles: S Rodney McLeod left with a right knee injury after colliding with teammate Mills in the third quarter. … RBs Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) were out and WR Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) missed his third straight game.
You will hear a lot more about the offensive line problems, a lacking pass rush and some mistakes made by the Eagles in the rest of this week leading up to their next game with the Tennessee Titans. For now, I’m just glad for a W that could have easily gone another way.
|Passing 1st downs||9||12|
|Rushing 1st downs||3||10|
|1st downs from penalties||2||4|
|3rd down efficiency||2-12||6-14|
|4th down efficiency||1-2||0-0|
|Yards per Play||3.7||4.9|
|Yards per pass||3.3||5.4|
|Yards per rush||5.2||4.3|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-5||2-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|